If you’re serious about wanting to stop a 2.3% tax increase proposed by the city, you’re going to have to suffer some paperwork.

At their meeting last month, Prince George City Council discussed a plan to borrow $32 million for 11 different projects, which would increase taxes by 2.3% for 20 years. Since that, a Facebook group has been formed in opposition of the proposal.  

The group, called Enough Already! City of PG AAP is aimed at getting enough support to stop the loan. One of their major sticking points, according to Administrator Phil Beaulieu, is that the steps in which the public can even have a say are meant to be difficult.

Through the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) that council chose to use, 5, 546 voters (10% of those registered in PG) would need to fill out 11 pages of a 25-page document, the Electoral Response Form (ERF), and submit it manually to City Hall to be successful in opposing.

“That’s how they create the process, it’s hard to prove motive, but in my head it’s because they don’t want our input,” said Beaulieu in an interview with MyPGNow.com.

City Councillor Garth Frizzell explained that AAP is not meant to dissuade voters, but is a much cheaper system at about $10,000 (plus the cost of forms printed) when compared to a Positive Referendum, which could cost up to $95,000.  

“I can see the frustration with paperwork, we have to do it all the time. We go with this because it’s much less expensive. It’s not intended to be difficult at all. Council reflects the will of the public, that’s the important part.”  

Frizzell said the will of the public prevailed in a similar situation just over five years ago when the city presented an $11.5 million proposal for the River Road Dyke, and a counter-petition group successfully stalled the project.    

Council member Kyle Sampson had some thoughts on the process as well, saying there are two sides to the coin when it comes to criticism of AAP.

“Is the process effective? I think if we were to, as a city, make it more accessible, that’s going to satisfy the folks who want to challenge some of these things. The other side of it is making sure that we are doing it in the right way to make sure we are having true and completely accurate representation.”

The Facebook group has grown to over 500 members as of this publication.  

Residents can print out the ERF from the City’s webpage or copies will be available from City Hall starting on April 18th. The deadline for submissions is May 31st.